Hi all -
Were getting ready to open our second manned station, and will effectually be splitting our current seven person minimum staffing between the two stations.
In essence both stations will be flip-flop stations with a FF/EMT and a Engineer/Paramedic covering both the engine and the medic unit depending on the call that comes in, and the station officer staying back to cover the engine.
We do have 8 personnel per shift, but because of vacation/sick leave we run at minimum manning about 96% of the time. We gave up a vacation spot (8 with minimum of 6) a few years ago to keep a 3rd person on our engine for safety, but it looks like that's gone now.
Here's my questions:
Does this type of system/staffing seem unsafe to anyone, and if so where do I turn to get this fixed?
How many of you run a two person engine regularly? If so, is it your normal mode of operation?
Thanks for any input. I know there are growing pains anytime crews are split or a station is added, but it seems to me like were trying to butter a loaf of bread with one of those little individual butter packets you get at IHOP...
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10-09-2008, 02:14 AM #1
7 people staffing: 2 engines and 2 ALS M.U.'s???
10-09-2008, 07:13 AM #2
Is the 3rd person on the engine a contractual item?
If so, there's your reason to either hire a firefighter on OT to cover and maintain that staffing level and/or hire additional personnel."The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY
10-09-2008, 09:16 AM #3
- Join Date
- Aug 2004
Welcome to the wonderful UNSAFE style of staffing called jump companies. This staffing model is just as good as the quint concept, sorry quint guys. Start talking to your residents and explain to them about the unsafe staffing and see if they can put pressue on your city to hire more people so that both apparatus are manned. Since you pay taxes for fire and ambulance service then you should be able to get fire and ambulance service not sorry we can't respond with the engine because the ambulance is on a call now. Or you can just wait and when something big happens, which it will, then go to the citizens and explain to them this happened because of the short staffing.
10-09-2008, 01:10 PM #4
- Join Date
- Nov 2007
In 2007 SB 400C amended ORS 243.650 to make saftey and staffing a topic of bargaining for public safety employees. It took effect on Jan. 1, 2008. You need to compare the amendments with your labor contract. I've included a small portion of ORS 243.650 for you to see.
243.650 Definitions for ORS 243.650 to 243.782. As used in ORS 243.650 to 243.782, unless the context requires otherwise:
(f) For employee bargaining involving employees covered by ORS 243.736, “employment relations” includes safety issues that have an impact on the on-the-job safety of the employees or staffing levels that have a significant impact on the on-the-job safety of the employees.
This is a brief summary from the OSFFC on SB 400C.
After a slight setback in the House where the original SB 400 failed to muster the required 31 votes, after continued discussions with House leadership and discussions primarily with the League of Oregon Cities, an agreement was reached that cleared the way for this long awaited and deserved change in statutory language affecting our rights to bargain. The only difference between the original bill and 400C is that staffing levels must be significant in order to be a mandatory subject of bargaining. Clearly switching staffing levels from say 3 person engine companies to 2 persons would be significant as well as staffing levels that are not consistent with industry and nationally recognized standards. However, any safety issue discussion regardless of any (or lack thereof) of staffing levels is mandatory. This change will become law on January 1, 2008, but will not impact any existing contracts.
Hope this helps you out.
10-09-2008, 06:10 PM #5
Thanks guys for the great comments and some areas to look into.
As far as I know, when we gave up the additional vacation slot, it was put into an addendum to our (then) current contract. We have since negotiated again and it's nowhere to be found...
If you'll give me a second to rant - This change has been brought about by the perfect storm of events within our department. A new union president and board, of which 3 of the 5 have just got promoted and don't want to cause any waves, the opening of a ill-conceived and ill-placed station with no thoughts as to how we were going to man it, and a total focus by our department management on how to get an extra $buck$ out of our ambulance service even at the cost of destroying our ability to function safely even at a "bread and butter" single family dwelling fire.
I know that -just like the rest of the country- calls for fire and rescue services are on the decline, but we focus about 90% of our energy on the 25% of our budget that comes from ambulance revenue. This is why the medics get staffed above all else, even at the loss of safety to our own employees.
This whole process makes me disgusted. I feel like I've been pimped out, and I am required to leave my brothers and sisters hanging just to make an extra buck. We are going to get bit in the *** hard on this, I just hope we don't get anyone seriously injured or killed. I guess ultimately it's beyond my pay grade, and I'll have to take what's put in front of me...
10-10-2008, 07:02 AM #6
- Join Date
- Sep 2008
Certainly easy for me to sit on the sidelines & say this, but you and yours may SERIOUSLY need to SERIOUSLY consider how you do what you do.
Safety is now "in your face" due to your staffing issues.
Do the job from a distance as effectively as possible, putting everyones safety first.
Think before doing. Then think again.
Don't jump in just because that's what's always been done.
Hammer the safety issue to those who have the purse-strings.
Best to ya.
10-10-2008, 08:07 AM #7
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
Your staffing level has not changed. You simply disbursed part of them to another part of the city.
If the ambulance leaves a station then the ambulance (and maybe the engine too) at the other station could move to the station to complete the manpower. Even if they don't back in then any new call will still be handled by the same number of personnel you had on staff yesterday, they will simply be responding from a different location. One station will not disregard a call simply because it is in the other stations territory.
What has changed is that now, if a major incident occurs one one side of town half of your crew will get there faster than the other half, but you will still have the same manpower as before, just arriving in intervals. And perhaps with more apparatus than before.
We do a lot of backing in. I come from a small town, and you do what you have to do with the resources provided, while lobbying for additional resources to keep your community safe.
No, it is not ideal, but is workable. Work with it. Keep statistics. Times. Results. Use that information to make your case to your board/council/whatever.
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